On Being Thankful

With Thanksgiving approaching for those of us in America, I’ve been thinking about gratitude. Gratitude or thankfulness I believe stems primarily from two aspects: perspective and choice.

When I think about gratitude as a matter of perspective, I see children. I remember back quite a few years ago when my south-east coast town was in the grips of a hurricane (not uncommon). This hurricane had brought more rain than wind, and the city was rapidly flooding. Driving home from work, I drove through a flooded intersection where the water was much deeper than the previous few flooded intersections, and my car cut off. There I was, stranded in a neighborhood far from my house, with a dead car that was about to start filling up with water any minute, and no cell phone. (Yes, cell phones had been invented, but I had not invested in such technology yet).

I had a lot to be thankful for in that moment, though it didn’t feel like it. I was alive. The person whose house I’d stalled in front of let me come inside and dry off and use the phone. When I finally did get home, my house was not flooded. But what struck me the most in that difficult and unpleasant moment was the neighborhood children. Continue reading

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Why I’m Writing Short Stories Instead of Novels

I’ve always considered myself a novelist. I love long involved stories, the more epic the better. As a kid I loved The Chronicles of Narnia, then I read The Lord of the Rings and others (The Silmarillion, etc.) I love a thick novel with a thick plot (like The Historian), and my favorite TV show is the sprawling sci-fi epic Babylon 5.

And so, I began writing what I loved reading. In middle school I had an epic fantasy series that I wrote on for several years (I’d planned to make it a seven book series, and wrote first drafts of about two and a half books). When I first started this blog a few years ago, I was working on an epic fantasy trilogy inspired by the folktales of Finland.

While I have not given up on either fantasy series, both have been temporarily shelved and I’ve started writing short fiction. Because of my love of long epic stories, I never thought of myself as a short story writer. Continue reading

What to Do if You’re not doing NaNoWriMo

What is NaNoWriMo? In case you didn’t know, it’s National Novel Writing Month. Every November, thousands of crazy eager folks decide to crank out an entire novel in just one month. The goal is to write 50,000 words in 30 days.

It’s a fun challenge, and gets people excited about writing. Even if you don’t “win” it by hitting the 50,000 word mark, it’s still worthwhile to participate to challenge yourself, team up with accountability partners, meet other writers, and try something new.

But what if you’ve decided not to participate? Believe it or not, there are a lot of writers out there who don’t do NaNoWriMo – or at least don’t do it every year. So what can you do this November if you’re not trying to crank out a NaNoWriMo novel? Continue reading

Another Roaring 20s Dieselpunk Adventure!

A few months ago I released a short story to launch my new ongoing dieselpunk series. You can find that first story, Mrs. Jones and the Midas Train, on Amazon and Smashwords.

And now it’s time to announce the second story in the series, Mrs. Jones and the Watchmaker’s Ghost! If you haven’t read the first one, you can still read this new one first. The stories in the Mrs. Jones series are all stand-alone shorts. So what are you waiting for?

Mrs. Jones, ghost hunter.

A dead man comes to the door, asking for help. He was murdered with a magic spell, and fears that his murderer will kill again. Cornelia Jones goes in search of the killer and his magic, and finds herself dealing with a madman who cannot die. Can she dispatch the ghosts before she becomes one herself?

 

 

Available on Amazon

How to be Annoying on Social Media in Five Easy Steps

In the ever-changing sea of social media, techniques can change on a weekly basis, it seems. That sure-fire tactic that worked last month is now totally useless. But some things don’t change. I originally wrote this post almost three years ago, and even as I’ve learned more about using social media as an author (and worked professionally in social media), these points are still valid.

So in no particular order, here are five sure-fire ways to annoy your followers and alienate your readership. If you’re tired of the decent or even excellent success you’ve been having with your social media, then try these tips to make everything worse.

Write in ALL CAPS

All capital text is the type-written form of shouting, and shouting for no good reason drives people away by the hundreds. Why save all caps for only URGENT STUFF when you can confuse and irritate your fans by making EVERYTHING SEEM URGENT? Continue reading